Guy Campbell's miniature steam engines

Retiree builds steam traction engines that bring back memories of bygone era

| May/June 1969

Guy Campbell adjusted the piston on his miniature engine and then, looking up at his visitor, remarked, “When I complete this steam traction engine it will be able to pull any car in town.”

The engine he referred to is not much bigger than a garbage can. Yet, when finished, it will weigh 135 pounds, produce 95 pounds of pressure and travel about five miles per hour.

It is one of three model steam engines owned by Guy, a Weirton Steel retiree whose hobby is reproducing giant steam tractors in miniature. Complete in every mechanical detail, the tiny models have real action and power. In fact, they run and operate the same way their larger prototypes do.

Born on a farm

Guy’s interest in this hobby grew from his experiences on the old Campbell Addition, the farmland on which Weirton was built. Born there on April 22, 1884, he lived with steam engines during their heyday on American farms.

“Back in 1912, I owned a big steam traction engine,” he recalls. “Not every farmer could afford one in those days. So I took mine from farm to farm, threshing wheat and baling hay for the neighbors.”

In 1918, Guy gave up farming and began making steel at Weirton Steel Co. He worked at various jobs, but when he retired in 1953 he was a machinist in the Steel Works Machine Shop.